Gas Station Back-Up Power Program (PON 2758) Frequently Asked Questions
Gas Station Back-Up Power Program FAQ
- What is the Gas Station Back-Up Power Program?
The Gas Station Back-Up Power Program ensures the continued availability of fuel to New Yorkers in the downstate area during an energy or fuel supply emergency. Developed as a direct response to Superstorm Sandy, when many gas stations in areas affected by the storm had gasoline but did not have electricity to run the pumps, this program helps pay for wiring necessary to accept portable emergency generators and for installation of permanent back-up generators. The program, which is the strongest in the nation, should provide first responders, essential personnel, evacuating residents and other motorists with peace-of-mind knowing that gas stations have the necessary back-up power capacity to dispense gasoline and get things back to normal as quickly as possible after an energy or fuel supply emergency has been declared.
- How much money is available?
Up to $17 million is available.
- Which stations are required to do this?
Approximately half of all downstate gas stations in New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland counties are now required to have back-up power in the event of an emergency.
- How do I participate in the grant program?
Gas station owners/operators can apply for the funding online at http://nysandyhelp.ny.gov/fuel-ny. Click the “Apply for a Grant” button to be taken to the NYSERDA Gas Station Back-Up Power Program information. Upon filling out the online application, NYSERDA will review the application and work with the owner/operator to ensure its proper completion.
After the application is properly completed, and approved by NYSERDA, NYSERDA will issue a grant agreement to sign. Return the signed grant agreement to NYSERDA for its signature and NYSERDA will then provide a final signed agreement. Now the grant award construction work can begin.
Do not start work until you receive the final NYSERDA-signed agreement. Grant payments cannot be made for work performed before receiving this authorization.
Grant payments will be made after the installation is completed and NYSERDA receives a Payment Request Form, including proper documentation from the gas station owner that the costs have been incurred, work completed, and an invoice received from the electrical contractor and NYSERDA has performed a site inspection.
For assistance with the grant program, station owners/operators can call toll free 1-855-323-3030 or send an email to GasStationGrants@nyserda.ny.gov.
- How much is NYSERDA paying per station?
Gas station owners/operators located downstate within a half-mile of highway exits and evacuation routes can apply for up to $10,000 per station to install a transfer switch that will accept a portable emergency generator, or up to $13,000 per station if they elect to install a permanent back-up generator. Stations that are part of a chain as defined in the program and that are not located within a half-mile of highway exits and evacuation routes can only receive up to $10,000. Funding will be paid only for actual eligible expenses upon receipt by NYSERDA of proper documentation that the installation is complete.
- Does NYSERDA funding cover the entire cost of the wiring?
In most cases $10,000 will cover the full cost of the wiring. The $13,000 is anticipated to cover the full cost of wiring and/or all or a portion of the cost of a permanent back-up generator.
- Will payments from NYSERDA be made up front?
Gas stations will NOT be required by NYSERDA to make up-front payments to their electrical contractor for the grant amount. Grant payments will be made after the installation is completed and NYSERDA receives a Payment Request Form, including proper documentation from the gas station owner that the costs have been incurred, work completed, and an invoice received from the electrical contractor.
- Will NYSERDA provide portable generators to gas stations?
NYSERDA is developing a program to manage a pool of generators that will be made available for these downstate stations if an energy or fuel supply emergency is declared. The cost of rental, deployment and operation of the generators will paid by the designated gas stations. Gas stations do not have to participate in the NYSERDA generator pool program; they can make their own arrangements for a generator to be deployed and installed within the required time period and provide documentation to NYSERDA.
- When is the deadline for installing the wiring and for being prepared to operate the generator during a declared energy emergency in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties?
- Stations within a half-mile of a highway exit or hurricane evacuation route in these downstate areas will need to be wired with a transfer switch by April 1, 2014. They must deploy and install a generator within 24 hours of losing power in an emergency.
- In addition, 30 percent of all retail outlets that are part of a chain further than half-mile from highway exits and evacuation routes in these downstate areas will be required to install a transfer switch by August 1, 2015. They must deploy and install a generator within 48 hours of losing power.
- All newly constructed gas stations in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties for which a building permit is issued on or after April 1, 2014 will be required to have wiring to deploy a generator or have a back-up generator installed.
- Are there times when a gas station will not have to deploy and install a generator within the required 24 or 48 hours?
A station will not be penalized if it is unable to deploy, install or operate an alternate generated power source because of uncontrollable circumstances, including but not limited to, restrictions imposed by public safety officers to address an emergency situation or that such retail station is made unsafe or unable to operate due to acts of God, fires, floods, explosions or the safety of personnel needed to operate the retail outlet.
- How does a station know if it is one of the 30% included in the chain of retail outlets away from highway exits and evacuation routes that are required to install the wiring? Is there a list of stations located on the web?
New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets is informing all stations that it is aware of in areas where this provision applies. The station owner/operator of the retail outlet will determine which of these stations will be included. To view a station on a map showing all highway exits and evacuation routes, as well as to see a list of stations that appear to meet these requirements, please visit http://nysandyhelp.ny.gov/fuel-ny.
- Are any gas stations exempt from this law?
Gas stations selling less than 75,000 gallons of fuel on average per month can receive an exemption. Under section 192-h(6), by June 1, 2013, New York State Agriculture & Markets is required to send a notice to all retail outlets that appear to meet the criteria and post the list on its website. If a retail outlet is on the list, but doesn’t think it should be, it has to submit documentation of the exemption by August 1, 2013. Contact New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets at 518-457-3146 for more information.
- What are the penalties if a station does not do this wiring?
Under section 192-h(7) of the New York State Agriculture & Markets Law, the Commissioner of Agriculture & Markets may assess civil penalties up to $1,500 per day for each violation after notice and opportunity for a hearing. Contact New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets at 518-457-3146 for more information.
- Are there specific wiring products that stations need to use to be eligible for NYSERDA funding?
No, but a transfer switch must be capable of accepting an emergency generator that, at a minimum, is of sufficient capacity to provide power to operate all dispensers and dispensing equipment, life safety systems, environmental monitoring systems, payment-acceptance equipment, and other systems necessary to ensure that such outlets can continue safe fuel sales operations during an electricity outage.
- Does this work have to be done by a NYSERDA-approved contractor?
No, but it has to be installed by a licensed electrician in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and all applicable provisions of the NYS uniform fire prevention and building codes. Contact New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets at 518-457-3146 for more information.
- Why isn’t there funding available for upstate gas stations to do this wiring? Extreme weather events can take place upstate too.
Upstate gas stations are not required under the law to install the transfer switch or arrange for emergency generation. The law requires NYSERDA to conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness of requiring backup power at retail outlets outside of the downstate region. That study is underway.